House Republicans Announce Plans For A 5-Year Highway Bill
Speaker of the House John Boehner, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and other House Republicans announced that they will introduce a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill in a press conference earlier this month.
The bill, dubbed the American Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act, would fund transportation programs at current levels, almost $50 billion a year.
Funding for the legislation will come from a provision allowing oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and along the nation's coast lines.
"Here's how the bill works: It will create millions of jobs by eliminating unnecessary barriers that prevent us from using our vast energy resources," said Speaker Boehner. " Second, by expanding American energy production we can help lower fuel prices for American families and small businesses, and can provide a new revenue stream for infrastructure repair and improvement. "
For their part, Senate Democrats have come out in strong opposition to paying for the bill through expanded oil drilling.
"As I have stated many times, we need to pay for the surface transportation bill in a way that is not contentious and does not threaten jobs," said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). "The proposal by Republican leadership would mire a very popular surface transportation bill in controversy, and it would directly threaten many thousands of fishing, tourism, and recreation-related jobs. In addition, I am told by financial experts that this proposal would fall billions short. I am proud that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have avoided this type of distraction, because millions of workers and thousands of businesses are relying on us to work together."
"We are excited that the House is ready to deliver surface transportation reauthorization legislation," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "With that said, there is a lot of work to be done before a final bill gets to the President's desk. We hope that the House and the Senate will be able to reach a suitable compromise, and deliver a highway bill to the country."